Our Program (1930)

Our Program (1930)

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People stands for the full political, economic and social equality of white folk and Negroes.

We have stood for this so long and fought for it so hard that it scarcely seems possible that anyone could misunderstand or successfully misrepresent our position.

Our fight for political equality includes a half-dozen cases taken up to the Supreme Court of the United States and our repeated urging of independent voting.

Our fight for economic equality has directed our attack upon discriminating unions and unfair employers and our advocating of co-operation and socialization of wealth.

Our fight for social equality has meant a long struggle against residential segregation and anti inter-marriage bills.

Beyond this, however, we recognize there are other and greater fields to conquer: there is the question of political rights for women, for the poor, for the unrepresented laboring millions throughout the world; there is the problem of economic justice in the distribution of income and in the democratization of the whole industrial process; and there is the question of caste and social class based on wealth and privilege. There is above all the question of Peace and the cessation of imperial aggression on weaker peoples.

To this greater field the N.A.A.C.P. has given thought and attention. But its contention is that until the radical thought of the world recognizes the role of color discrimination, it can never properly gird itself to fight for political, economic and social rights for the majority of men.

In other words, the color line today in hindering Democracy; is stopping economic justice; and is making real human contact impossible. It is doing this not simply by depriving colored folk of these advantages, but by the fact that through this color discrimination, the majority of white folk are also kept from democracy in politics, industry and society.

It is this point that radicals continually forget. Not understanding the Negro problem, they assume that political rights for white folk mean political rights for black folk; that after obtaining industrial justice, white working men will extend this to colored workingmen; that social insult and ostracism practiced against Negroes is nothing more than white class feeling based on wealth.

The N.A.A.C.P. has warned its radical friends and warns them now again: there is no magic in a radical program which is going to make the mass of people, rich and poor, forget their inborn prejudice against other races, especially if the races are darker hued.

It is, therefore, the first job of the N.A.A.C.P. and of any colored organization to get rid of this color complex; to fight color discrimination as such; to admit frankly that this is not the whole of the battle for human rights, but it is the first rampart to be taken; that until this battle is fought and won, there can be no racial political democracy in the world; there can be no complete economic justice; there can be no social equality. There can be no permanent Peace on Earth.

Citation: Du Bois, W.E.B. 1930. “Our Program.” The Crisis. 37(5):174.